packing hacks travel luggage
Francesco Paggiaro via Pexels

Now Boarding: The Best Packing Hacks From Flight Attendants


| LAST UPDATE 04/09/2023

By Petra Grover

Flight attendants have been gate-keeping these helpful packing tips for too long. But now, we're sharing all their secret tips and tricks with the world, so get ready for takeoff and start scrolling!

Impromptu Jewelry Case

When going on a big trip, one of the big decisions to make is what jewelry to bring with you! Taking your entire jewelry case is hardly practical, so where can you put the few items you take with you?

necklace jewelry packing hacksnecklace jewelry packing hacks
Lany-Jade Mondou via Pexels

One flight attendant had such an easy solution to that problem. So easy, in fact, that we feel silly we didn't think of it first! Instead of carrying your jewelry in a cluttered mess, take a mint box, clean it out, and put your jewelry inside. Now, you've got a mini jewelry box to take with you all over the world!

Buttons as Earring Holders

The mint box as a jewelry case may work for necklaces, rings, and bracelets - but what about those elusive earrings that always seem to get lost in the shuffle? Well, one flight attendant-recommended hack will ensure those earrings stay safe and sound.

buttons jewelry packing hacksbuttons jewelry packing hacks
@aussiebuttonsnbits via Instagram

If you have spare buttons around the house, you can use them as earring holders. Yes, we're being totally serious! Put the earrings into the two center holes in the button and secure the backing to the other end. Now your earrings will be organized and ready to be packed.

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All-in-One Conditioner

While Dr. Bronner's is famous for making soap that can be used for anything, there's another item in your shower with multiple uses. Your conditioner can also be your makeup remover, shoe polisher, and shaving cream! Who knew a simple bottle of conditioner could have so many practical uses?

travel conditioner packing hackstravel conditioner packing hacks
@mariasilva.ugc via Instagram

With conditioner being a total multitasker, one flight attendant suggested that it may not be a bad idea to stick a bottle of it in your suitcase before every flight. That settles the debate forever - conditioner is definitely better than shampoo.

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Protect Your Bottles

Packing bottles in your luggage can be risky - what if they explode while you're on the plane and ruin your clothes? Not only is it a huge mess to clean up, but now you have to wash your clothes AND get new products on vacation. This hack will help prevent any bottles from spilling all over your suitcase.

bottle box packing hacksbottle box packing hacks
@kuro_tarou4521 via Instagram

There's not that much you have to do either. Everything that you need is already in your house! Tear off a piece of Press'n Seal plastic food wrap, open the screw top of your bottles, and stick the sheet over the opening. Afterward, close the bottle back down. Now, there's no way the contents are getting out.

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Plan Ahead

This next hack will not only make packing so much easier, but it will also be a time and stress saver while you are on vacation. Before you start packing, try planning out what you will wear every day on your trip. It may seem a bit impossible - after all, how can you know what you will want to wear?!

clothes luggage packing hacksclothes luggage packing hacks
Francesco Paggiaro via Pexels

Except, the benefits are tremendous. It will help you from overpacking your suitcase with items you don't need. You know what more room in your luggage means, right? More room to bring back souvenirs! This tip gets a stamp of approval from flight attendants everywhere.

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Fill Your Hat

Hats are a super valuable item when going on a trip. They help block the sun, are super stylish, and can protect against unfavorable weather conditions. The only issue with them is: they can be hard to pack. Since they are oddly shaped, they don't naturally fit in with clothing in a suitcase. So, what can you do?

suitcase clothes packing tipssuitcase clothes packing tips
Kindel Media via Pexels

You can use your hat to create more space in your suitcase! Try stuffing smaller items like socks, underwear, scarves, and bras, into the hat, which then goes right-side up on the bottom of the suitcase. That way, you have so much space surrounding it. You can use this trick on a sunhat, baseball cap, and more!

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Bottom First

When packing, some items are always way heavier than others, like your shoes, hair dryers, and those big souvenirs you bought. So, this one flight attendant suggested that when you're packing, it's a good idea to put all the heavy items at the base of the suitcase.

luggage trolley travel hacksluggage trolley travel hacks
@jimisha_x via Instagram

Why does that matter? Well, this flight attendant pointed out that the suitcase usually stands upright, and the bottom items will end up bearing the weight of the rest of the bag. So, instead of risking damage to more fragile and smaller items, eliminate that risk entirely by putting the heavy items at the bottom.

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Saving Your Makeup

Every makeup wearer knows how terrible it feels to open your powder or eyeshadow palette and realize they are cracked. While the makeup is still usable, it is not ideal to use broken products. This helpful tip will make sure that this never happens again.

makeup travel packing hacksmakeup travel packing hacks
Engin Akyurt via Pexels

While you pack the products that you're going to bring with you, take a cotton pad or cotton balls and put them over the product's surface. This little hack will help shield the pressed powder and prevent any cracking from happening while the makeup is in transit.

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Weigh Ahead

There's nothing worse than arriving at the airport and finding out your bag exceeds the weight limit. Okay, maybe missing your flight is worse, but being forced to pay extra for heavy luggage is up there! This flight attendant-recommended trick will help avoid any surprise costs, but it does require an investment.

suitcase weight travel tipssuitcase weight travel tips
Poolarity - Life Hacks via YouTube

Buying yourself a luggage scale will make the traveling day that much easier. You can check how much your bag weighs before leaving the house, and there won't be any surprises when you check your bags. In no time, the cost of the scale will pay off.

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Dirty Laundry

Do you ever wonder to yourself when you're on vacation, "What am I going to do with all this dirty laundry?" We think everyone can relate to this feeling. Sometimes people resort to putting dirty clothes on one side of the suitcase or sticking them in a pocket, but this hack might simplify things.

laundry bags travel hackslaundry bags travel hacks
@march6teen via Instagram

While you pack, make sure to include a laundry bag. It doesn't have to be a super big one, but this trick will help in a big way. Not only will there be a place to put smelly clothes on vacation, but it will also make it easy to do laundry when you return home. This tip is a game-changer!

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Keep a Pen Handy

Some things are so obvious that it is easy to miss them, like this next hack! One flight attendant suggested always packing a pen in your carry-on luggage. Carrying a pen is wise because you may never know when you need it. When flying internationally, some countries require documents to be filled out.

passport documents travel tipspassport documents travel tips
@sandiraju via Instagram

While many may expect the crew to provide them with pens, there's no guarantee that they will. Even if you aren't flying internationally, having a pen with you is always a good idea. You never know if you'll want to play a spontaneous game of tic-tac-toe or need to write something down the old-fashioned way.

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Utilizing Your Undergarments

Just like with the hat hack, there's another way to put your undergarments to use. For anyone planning to pack bras on their next trip, this tip is for you. Similar to our earlier trick that involves putting smaller items into a hat, this trick uses the same concept, except you'll stuff your underwear into your bra cups.

undergarments underwear packing hacksundergarments underwear packing hacks via Instagram

If you aren't traveling with a hat, this is a great way to utilize space and create more room for other items. It will also help keep the shape of your bra intact. How did we survive a trip without all of these useful hacks beforehand? Let's keep scrolling for more.

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Leave the Soap at Home

So far, we've mainly covered tips for how to pack better or what to bring with you on a trip to make it easier in the long run. But this hack is telling you to leave one item at home. One flight attendant recommended skipping putting body soap on the packing list.

soap toiletries packing travelsoap toiletries packing travel
Cup of Couple via Pexels

They reasoned that body soap would be available wherever your final destination may be! Most hotels provide soap - and if not, buying one at a local convenience store is easy enough. So free up the space in your luggage and pack something that won't be as easy to find.

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Dry Cleaning Hack

Never know what to do with the tons of dry cleaning bags you have hanging in the closet? This next hack will help finally put those bags to use. If you have a fragile outfit you plan to wear on vacation, you can't just stick them in your luggage! You run the risk of ruining the clothing.

bag suitcase packing tipsbag suitcase packing tips
Textile Vlog via YouTube

So, to prevent anything from wrecking the fragile outfit, simply take a dry-cleaning bag and put the outfits in them. Once they are all wrapped up, then you can pack them into your luggage as usual. There are more great hacks waiting! All you have to do is scroll down.

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Group Bottles Together

POV: you are all ready to go on your next vacay - you planned your outfits, bought your tickets, and now all that is left to do is pack. But what will you do with all the different bottles you have? Between shampoo, makeup remover, and everything else, finding a place for everything seems impossible!

bottle traveling kit hackbottle traveling kit hack
Timur Weber via Pexels

This flight attendant had an excellent recommendation to solve the issue. They suggested grouping all the bottles and keeping them in the same spot. This is the best and most practical method for storing bottles instead of having them scattered between multiple bags.

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Set Yourself Apart

After you've spent a few hours flying through the air, everyone wants to get to their hotel or back to their home as soon as possible. However, they have to retrieve their bags from baggage claim first, and this is when things can get messy. With so many people flying, luggage tends to look similar to one another.

luggage tags travel hackluggage tags travel hack
@thepurplescissors via Instagram

So, how can you make sure that the bag you are taking is really yours? Easy peasy! A luggage tag adds the perfect amount of personalization to a bag so you know that this one belongs to you. Plus, you can also write down your information if the bag goes missing. This hack is a lifesaver.

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Have an Extra in Case

An extra what you may be asking yourself? An extra pillowcase, of course. What's the purpose of bringing an extra pillowcase? It's an easy and lightweight backup option that you'll be glad to have. What if the hotel's pillows are visibly dirty? Or the house you rented is not as well-kept as the pictures promised online?

pillowcase travel packing tippillowcase travel packing tip
@gabrielleassaf via Instagram

Having that little bit of home with you and the comfort of knowing that it is clean will make your trip better. While it may not seem necessary, you won't regret packing an extra pillowcase when you end up needing it. You can even place it in your carry-on and use it to cover the airplane pillow on a long flight.

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Use the Cubes

Packing cubes have become all the rage. You've probably seen them on TikTok or Instagram when social media influencers pack for their trips. There's a good reason why everyone is using them: they're extremely helpful when it comes to packing. Here's why...

packing cubes travel hackpacking cubes travel hack
Life Well Cruised via YouTube

You can use packing cubes to separate shirts from pants or pack according to what you'll wear every day. After all the clothes have filled the cubes, they easily fit into your suitcase. Now you'll be organized and ready to make the most of your vacation.

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Start With the Suitcase

This flight attendant hack is absolutely brilliant. They recommended that the packing begins way before deciding what to wear. It starts with the actual suitcase! That's right. Bags vary in weight, and depending on your model, they can actually be quite heavy.

suitcase heavy travel tipsuitcase heavy travel tip
@sanyaqm via Instagram

So, it doesn't matter how light you may travel; the suitcase can tip the scales the wrong way. This flight attendant suggests investing in a more lightweight bag to prevent the unnecessary weight from being added on. Keep scrolling for more great tips and tricks!

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Reuse Your Cloth Bags

Ever feel like you have so many bags at home that you have no idea what to do with them all? Don't throw them in the garbage bin, no matter how tempting that may be. This incredible packing hack uses some of those extra cloth bags lying around the house.

reusable bag travel packingreusable bag travel packing
ready made via Pexels

If you have fragile items, a slightly dirty pair of shoes, or a delicate piece of clothing, insert them into one of these cloth bags before packing them. That way, it keeps the rest of your stuff clean, and you finally get to reuse one of the bags. It's a win-win situation.

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Bring Along a Sarong

This flight attendant-approved trick is super handy. They recommend bringing a sarong on your next vacay. A sarong is a large piece of fabric that's typically wrapped around the waist. They're usually designed with patterns and bright colors and are part of the typical wardrobe in many cultures.

sarong packing travel tipsarong packing travel tip
@freakflops via Instagram

Why bring a sarong? They're incredibly lightweight and versatile. You can use them as a swimsuit coverup, a beach towel, a way to block the sun, and even as a blanket while traveling. They can be stuffed into your carry-on or placed in your luggage and barely add weight.

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Your Airport Outfit

Once you have everything packed and ready to go, you must decide what you will wear on your travel day! Depending on your flight duration, you need to wear something comfortable, but this flight attendant has another tip about your airplane outfit.

Airport Outfit travel tipAirport Outfit travel tip
@harriethapra via Instagram

They suggest wearing your heaviest pieces of clothing. It'll help free up space and weight in your luggage. Also, this tip comes in handy for those taking a short trip who need all the room they can get in their carry-on. Your carry-on has more space if you wear your heavy jacket and boots. Genius!

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Skip the Toiletries

Have you ever packed for a trip and realized there simply is not enough room for everything you need? If you are really in a pinch, this trick can help out in a big way. This hack suggests ditching your shampoo and conditioner and leaving the toiletries at home.

toiletries pharmacy travel hacktoiletries pharmacy travel hack
@finman66 via Instagram

In most cases, using this hack is not ideal. However, it can become helpful if you are really strapped for space because most basic toiletries will be sold in a nearby store wherever your destination is. Continue scrolling for more great ideas!

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Wrap Your Shoes

There's always that moment of hesitation before you put a pair of shoes in your suitcase. They're constantly on the filthy ground, and now they have to be next to your clothes! If you are ever worried about dirtying up the contents of your suitcase from your shoes, this hack was tailor-made for you.

shower cap shoes packingshower cap shoes packing
@initsrightplacedsm via Instagram

All you need to do is take a shower cap and put them around the soles of your shoes. It doesn't matter if you are packing boots, sandals, or sneakers; this hack will work with every type of shoe. Also, this easy-to-do trick will keep everything clean. More importantly, it'll give you peace of mind.

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Rolling Over Folding

Step aside folded clothing - there's a new sheriff in town! It's called rolling clothes. This hack is a new way to pack your suitcase. While it may seem abnormal compared to folding, trust us, it's the real deal. Rolling up your clothes and placing them in your bag saves a ton of space inside your suitcase!

rolling clothes packing hackrolling clothes packing hack
Vlada Karpovich via Pexels

Have you already been using this packing method and are you a seasoned pro? Level up with this next hack. Roll up your outfits into one big roll. That way, what you want to wear is already organized for you. We can't believe flight attendants have been gatekeeping this one for so long.

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Freshen Your Suitcase

After a long travel day, you've finally arrived at your hotel. You need to unpack before you can get ready for your next big adventure. But when you unzip your suitcase, everything inside smells like an airplane! Uh-oh. This next hack will solve that issue.

dryer sheet packing hackdryer sheet packing hack
@shop_at_costco via Instagram

Before you leave for the airport, stick a dryer sheet or two inside your suitcase. That way, by the time you're at your destination, your clothes will still have the fresh scent of laundry. No more dealing with that stuffy airplane smell. All we're asking ourselves is, how did we not think of this before?!

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Socks for Protection

Socks are simply the best. Not only do they keep our feet warm and come in so many sizes, patterns, and colors, but they also have a secret use. This next hack takes your average sock and turns it into a superhero. Well, maybe it won't fly around with a cape, but it will help.

fragile packing sock hackfragile packing sock hack
@typeahomes via Instagram

If you're traveling with fragile items, socks are a great way to protect them. They will provide extra padding and shield them from harm caused by things smashing against each other in your suitcase. Who knew that socks would become the hero of the day?!

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Sponge Trick

This sponge is not living in a pineapple under the sea, but it will live in your carry-on for some time. This next hack is helpful for anyone who has a snack they want to stay chilled until they're ready to eat it. Hours before leaving for the airport, stick an unused sponge into the freezer.

sponge food packing hacksponge food packing hack
CBS 17 via YouTube

Once it turns into a block of ice, stick it into a Ziploc bag with any food items you want to remain cool. Then, put everything in your suitcase, and you're ready to go. The frozen sponge basically turns into a portable freezer. How neat! Now you never have to worry about eating a warm turkey sandwich on the plane.

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Pack Inside Out

This next hack may feel a bit topsy-turvy, but we're here for it. One flight attendant suggested turning all your clothes inside out before packing them. Yup, you read that right! Why would anyone do such a thing? This flight attendant had a really good reason.

packing clothes travel hackpacking clothes travel hack
Timur Weber via Pexels

If an unfortunate situation were to present itself, and something exploded in your suitcase, there wouldn't be any potential dirt marks that would get onto your clothes! Wow, we never would've thought of that! Well, with experience comes expertise, right?

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Shoes As Storage

Shoes can be such a pain to pack. You can't live with them, and you can't live without them. But seriously, you really can't go on a trip without them. Yet, their bulky nature makes it hard to figure out a way to pack them efficiently. Plus, they take up so much room! This last hack solves that problem.

shoes packing space hackshoes packing space hack
Ashlynne Eaton via YouTube

Instead of complaining about how shoes take up so much room, make use of that space! Take your smaller items, like underwear or socks, or small souvenirs, and stuff them inside the shoe. That way, you are using up all the space inside the shoe, freeing up more room in your suitcase. It's a no-brainer.

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